So it’s been a while. Maybe you were waiting for your kids to grow up or needed to take a break after an abusive ex. But how many lonely weekends should you spend watching reruns of Friends? Maybe your mums pestering is right, so if you’re pondering the question, how do I start dating again? Keep reading as I’d definitely consider the following list before re-entering the dating market.
Take time to get over your ex
Finalising your divorce or finding out your partner cheated is called heartbreak for a reason. It can literally feel like your chest and indeed your heart is tearing apart. At it’s most extreme such as in controlling or abusive relationships, traumatic breakups can cause anxiety, PTSD or even depression. So if you’re getting over an ex it’s okay to be vulnerable or even talk to a therapist and these things might help you move on too.
Firstly it’s okay to be sad. It would be wonderful if life was only ever rosy but sometimes it’s not and that’s okay too. As painful as it is, sometimes it’s good to sit with our feelings and not jump into another relationship too soon, epically if you spend the whole date talking about your ex. Another good way is to distract yourself. Take up a class, go for a walk or even work more. Just don’t jump onto the social media doom scroll, and constantly checking their profile won’t help your situation either. Instead try to cut communion by unfollowing them and even deleting your ex partners contact details, that way you won’t be tempted to succumb to temptation.
All too often family and friendships can be left by the wayside but they’re also vital parts of your support group. Remember you don’t have to feel great all the time and just having someone to talk to can do wonders for your mental health. Finally take sometime for selfcare such as reading self help books, journaling or reigniting your health routine can do wonders for moving on.
Focus on yourself
Grieving from loss of a partner after a breakup is natural. And why wouldn’t be after all the time and memories you had together? But one of the best ways to get over someone else is to focus on you.
Indeed many couples tend to put on relationship weight and even neglect friendships. Now’s the time to do the opposite. Why not take up that gym class, or even try yoga, dancing, or walking. Basically anything that brings you happiness and joy that isn’t a negative coping mechanism like binge eating, drinking or smoking.
Many newly single individuals find solo traveling a great experience. Taking advantage of the fact you’re your own person and can go wherever you want without having to explain where you’ve been. And one of the biggest things is to re energize your social life. Reach out to any friends you may have neglected and start saying yes to social engagements is a great way of moving on.
Don’t work from home
Being single is usually just a symptom of an unsocial lifestyle. And the best place to start is your work. And I get it, after Covid lockdowns companies encourage staff to work from home so they can save on office rent. And who doesn’t want to sleep in an extra half an hour and get to work from home in your pyjamas while receiving the same pay?
But unfortunately, the cost to our mental health is far greater than the savings of a few tolls on our commute to work. Depression at its most pure can stem from isolation. And it doesn’t matter how many episodes of Dr Phil or Opera you watch, how much socialising can you really get done from your living room? So stop ditching the office, put on a pair of pants and start mixing with your colleges at the office again.
Become self aware
Firstly before you date anyone you should become self-aware. Fortunately when we’re over 30 this should become slightly easier, but do recognise your destructive dating patterns. So if you’re a love avoidant, you might need to get help and stop pushing your partners away.
Likewise if you have low self esteem it’s important not to be with someone who doesn’t treat you right. There’s many good books on phycology, relationships or seek advice from a councillor or psychologist if you need help before jumping into another relationship.
Get some hobbies
I get it, you’ve got work, had a partner and life is just plain busy! I know but when was the last time you did something for you? A hobbies is basically any activity you do for the sole purpose of enjoyment. Sounds fun because it should be!
Hobbies can include arts and crafts, collecting stuff or more social outdoorsy things like fishing or hiking. At the end of the day you should to aim to include as many social hobbies as possible. Think activities like volunteering, team spots or even meditation classes. The point is to just get out there and do something fun while meeting new people. This will get you out of your shell and even increase your chances of meeting your next partner.
Start online Dating
Yes I said it, back to dating! I know it can seem like a drag but if you’re over your ex and ready to get back onto the market, online dating apps still have their place. And with apps like Tinder having 75 million monthly users you can see why.
Weather you’re using Bumble, RSVP or eHarmony the first step is to set up a profile. When filling out your details be as truthful as possible, that way you’re morel likely to get paired with more suitable matches. Also it’s worth noting many dating apps also have paid version but always test it with a free account first.
When picking photos choose fun pictures that display your hobbies and confidence. Defiantly don’t over do topless or fishing photos and please don’t include that pic with your ex, you’re literally here to find someone new. On that note delete any old photos, we don’t need to add to the catfish experience.
Finally when meeting someone online it’s a good idea to have a video chat before your date, especially if you’re a woman. Another tip would be to only meet in public spaces and always tell a friend where you’re going.
Speak in statements
I know, you’re a grown up but especially if you’re a man, do not go into interrogation interview mode. Asking a woman you’ve just met where she lives is plain creepy, are you planning on stalking her? Other boring questions like ‘where have you worked before?’ are best left or when you’re finding a new employee. So unless you’re’ planning on paying her for a new position, keep it light and keep it fun.
Instead, ask her about her passions or dreams, or ask what’s the craziest experience (good or bad) that they’ve been through. Or better yet, don’t ask questions. After all when friends or lovers talk, they speak in statements. Statements are more natural, giving the other person feelings of familiarity and easily allow them to add to the conversation.
So remember asking ‘Where are you from?’ – is creepy. Instead say ‘You look European, I bet you’re Swedish’. Because even if you’re wrong, it doesn’t matter. She’ll either correct you by telling you where she’s from or will ask why you made that remark. Either way she’d have given you a new conversation thread that you can follow making it that much easier to chat.
State your relationship needs
Before jumping into your next long term relationship it’s important to figure out what you want. Journaling your relationship needs can be a great way to get over your ex and even figure out what you’re really looking for in a partner. Basically you want to analyse your previous relationships and break bad habits so you don’t keep continuing the same destructive cycle that renders you single and alone.
And when you start dating again it’s okay to see multiple people at the same time. But be honest and upfront and be clear in your intentions. That way you can play the field and rebuild your dating confidence before committing to your next partner.
Also be sure to openly talk about your relationship needs with your new partners. Things like how often you expect to see them, what expectations you have of them and them for you are great to discuses. It’s always wise to become aware of both of your love languages. This can save many future heartaches while insuring your values and needs are met as well as theirs.
Wait to introduce your kids
If you’re dating in your 30s or 40s it’s very common for you or your new partner to have children from previous relationships. While it’s completely okay to date with kids, you should defiantly wait before introducing any new romantic love interests to your children.
A rule of thumb is to make sure you’ve been in a committed relationship for at least 6 months before introducing your new boo to your kids. But there’s also many factors involved such as the age of your kids, the seriousness of your new and past relationships as well as the emotional readiness of your children.
At the end of the day it’s up to you as a parent for how long you decide to wait. Just be sure to always put the needs of your kids before your dates and don’t rush it. The rest should work itself out over time.
Take your time for sex
How many dates till sex? Today it’s a hot topic and any matchmaker will tell you the honeymoon phase has the most chemistry for a new couple. Basically there’s no hard rule but you should always take your time, especially if you want to see them again.
Sleeping with someone on the first night can be fun but it can also create awkward feelings leading to buyers remorse or one night stands. Other experts cite waiting for 3 months or some religions require you to be married before having sex. But ultimately take it on a case by case basis of what feels right for you and your new partner.
One non negotiable is to always practice save sex, that way you’ll decrease the likely hood of catching any unwanted STDs. The most important factors before sleeping with your date come down to both parties emotional readiness,